New Delhi: Evidence of prior meeting of minds of accused persons to commit a crime is essential to convict a person for conspiracy, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled,
acquitting a finance dealer charged with conspiracy to kill an auto driver for loan default.
"The gist of the offence of conspiracy is the agreement between two and more persons to do or cause to be done an illegal act or a legal act by illegal means.
"There must be meeting of minds resulting in an ultimate
decision taken by the conspirators regarding commission of the
crime. In this case, no such evidence has come on record," the
apex court said.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai
gave the judgement while upholding the appeal of Sherimom,
Managing Partner, City Auto Finance, Moovattupuzha, Kerala,
engaged in the business of advancing automobiles loans.
A sessions court had awarded Sherimom and two others
three year rigorous imprisonment for conspiracy resulting in
the murder of auto driver Binoy and life imprisonment to the
main convict Shiji Kunjamon. It had also directed Sherimom to
pay Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to the deceased` family.
The Kerala High Court upheld the sentence following which
Sherimom appealed in the apex court pleading that there was no
evidence to prove that he had engaged the killers to recover
the auto for default of the payment.
While challenging his conviction, Sherimon, however,
offered to pay Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to the deceased
family. The murder had taken place on March 25, 1999.
Upholding his appeal, the bench said, "When it is not the
case of the prosecution that the appellant was present when
the murder took place and when no overt act is attributed to
him by any witness, to hold him responsible for offence under
Section 324 IPC (causing hurt) with the aid of 120B (criminal
conspiracy) is clearly improper and illegal."